INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 225 entered except hy Mporcroft j it is wholly under Chinese in- fluence. 6. LAIUK.—This province, as restricted by us, extends from Nan to Balti, a distance of 230 miles, in which the Indus descends from 14,000 feet at Demchok, to 10,500 below Lc, and at 8500 enters BaltL Prom Hanle, the most elevated portion of this province, to its lower end, the increase of vegetation is very gradual along the valley of the Indus. The town of Hanle (14,300 feet above the level of the sea) is situated- in a very open, undu- lating, barren, saline plain, six to eight miles in diameter, covered with bog-soil, and bearing plants characteristic, of such localities. Bushes of Myricaricv become common at 14,000 feet, and these attain the character of sjnall trees at 13,000; below this, Poplars, Hippophae, ftv&i, etc. commence, and form a low "brushwood. Le, the capital of the province (and of West Tibet), is 11,800 feet above the sea. 7. BALTI is a Mohamedan province,' and extends from Ladak to the great bend of the Indus; it also includes the lower course of the Shayuk river, up to 10,000 foot. It is conterminous on the south with Dras arid Ilasora, and bound- ed on the north by the Koucnlun, or Mustagli. The axis of the latter is probably not less elevated than it is further east; but little is known of its slopes north of Balti, except that, owing to the damp winds finding free access by the Indus val- ley, they are more snowy than anywhere to the eastward. The bed of the Indus at Tolti is elevated about 7500 feet; at Iskardo, the capital of the province, 7000; at Rondu, 6200; and at the great bend about 5000. Throughout Balti the course of the Indus is in many'places quite impracticable, from the narrowness of its defile and its rugged bounding mountains. Except in the presence of the subtropical genera mentioned at page 218, the vegetation of Balti presents little of interest. Vines abound, climbing over the poplars, and there is much cultivation in available Situa- tions.